View Full Version : leading in BP guns?

January 3, 2010, 08:25 AM
I heve never heard anybody talk about leading, in BP guns. Does that mean it is not a problem? If not why not?

January 3, 2010, 10:41 AM
It's mostly in the "Shot String". First off, PRB should not ever give you the opertunity, if your equipment is up to snuff. Most target loads are not very hot or fast. Pretty much the same on Sabots but you do see posts about plastic deposites. That leaves conicals and you can run into leading on these but again, how many rounds does one shoot at one time and afterwards you go home and do a complete cleaning. It's hard to lead up a clean, seasoned bore. The only time I ran into a leading problems is on a pitted bore that tore up my patches and started biting into the soft lead. If you stop and think about it, it makes sense.

Be Safe !!!

January 3, 2010, 01:28 PM
Patches, of course!

Most of my focus as of late has been on BP revolvers. Plus I have never fired patched round balls of of my muzzleloader since the guy who gave it to me gave me a bunch of minis. So I wasn't even thinking about patches when I asked the question.

January 3, 2010, 01:55 PM
Even in cap-and-ball and cartridge guns, the pure lead obturates nicely and all but eliminates leading, unless there is a severe discrepency with bore and throat dimensions. Any soft lead that does happen to get left behind is much easier to remove than alloyed lead anyway.

January 3, 2010, 06:28 PM
So what is the down side of loading cartridge guns with pure lead? Most people don't.

January 4, 2010, 12:15 AM
BP burns at a lower temperature than smokeless which also limits leading. As a practical matter the bore will be fouled more with the BP then with the lead, Additionally, most people shoot relativity rounds through a BP revolver compared to modern cartridge guns.

January 4, 2010, 01:53 AM
So what is the down side of loading cartridge guns with pure lead? Most people don't.

Not sure why you say most people don't. Pure lead, or a very soft alloy, is what has always been recommended for black powder loading, even in cartridges. There is no need for harder bullets, and it is what was originally loaded back "in the day". Harder bullets with black powder will be much more likely to cause leading than soft bullets.

The only downside is that it is a little harder to get good castings. I add 2% tin just to help the lead to flow, but that is all. I almost never get any leading at all.

January 4, 2010, 04:34 PM
Not sure why you say most people don't. I just meant that the majority of people who cast bullets, don't cast pure lead. I knew the connection between round balls and pure lead, but I was not aware that it was so common for people who load BP cartridges to use pure lead. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten me. I don't have to much of a problem admiring my ignorance as long as the process helps me to become less so!

January 4, 2010, 08:07 PM
Lots of folks think that shooting "hard cast" pistol bullets is the key to reduce leading. Before I started casting and researching the subject, I thought along the same lines and always purchased hard cast bullets, and dealt with a lot of leading. In reality most standard pistol velocities are better served by a softer bullet that will obturate when firing and fill out the bore. Ideally the alloy should be matched to the pressure (not necessarily velocity) of that particular load. Lower pressure loads such as .45ACP and .45 colt are better off with a softer alloy (not necessarily pure though), magnum loads with a harder alloy and rifle bullets even harder yet.

I have less barrel leading with my smokeless boolits since I started adding some pure lead to my scrap wheel weight alloy to soften them up. I do cast pure lead for my C&B revolver and have yet to experience any significant leading in it.

January 5, 2010, 11:59 AM
A General Rule in shooting lead bullets in handguns is if you are getting leading then your alloy is too hard. The bullets are not obdurating properly and not sealing the bore.

When you begin to approach rifle speeds then the alloy has to be harder.

My pistol bullets for smokeless use, heavy loads in 41 magnum, are pure wheel weights. I also water quench them.

For cowboy use with black powder I use either air cooled wheel weights for 44-40 rifle or pure lead for round balls from my pistols.

January 5, 2010, 01:34 PM
A General Rule in shooting lead bullets in handguns is if you are getting leading then your alloy is too hard.

This is true for cylinder throat and forcing cone leading, but leading in the rifling generally indicates too soft an alloy, assuming the throats and bullets are the correct diameters. Leading in the rifling only toward the end of the barrel could mean the lubricant is insufficient.

January 8, 2010, 07:02 AM
And I will tell you I have run 120 rounds through a 1862 Springfield,with Bill Large 7-groove barrel in 2 hours.58 cal. hollow base sized to .575 and not even run a patch through it.Just use a brass brush every 20-25 rounds and it never leads.The secret is in the LUBE!!If you don't use the proper lube they will lead the barrel,even with pure lead.